Have you started “going native” in your marketing strategy? If you haven’t, its high time you do.
Traditionally known as advertorials or sponsored content, native advertising is a form of online advertising where the content matches the form and function of the channel in which it appears. These ads can either by created by the advertising company, an agency, or the media owner.
In the years ahead, it is forecasted that native ads will only grow.
Social and digital media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo! are already pushing hard to capture a larger share of the digital advertising pie by offering native advertising options.
They are joined by the myriad owners of traditional news and magazine websites looking to monetize their online presences.
A hybrid of content marketing and influencer marketing, native advertising is rocking the boats of traditional advertisers and agencies alike.
Many marketers are bullish about native advertising. Just look at this projections of its growth in the US alone!
Courtesy of Business Insider
According to an article in Shareholic, native ads outperform more traditional forms of banner or display advertising. Consider the following:
It certainly looks like native ads are making their impact felt. And the forecast looks rosy – beginning with the US where it has taken off in a big way.
With the impending death of traditional display ads, the thorny question arises: How can you remodel your marketing organisation to take advantage of native ads?
Here are seven steps you need to take when embarking on your native advertising journey.
As I’ve previously blogged about in Native Advertising: What You Need To Know, native ads are more similar in form and substance to editorial content than traditional advertisements.
Like other forms of content marketing, marketers need to invest in creating quality content that attracts attention, provides utility, builds trust, and improves brand affinity.
One way to do so is to create a newsroom of “brand journalists”, videographers, and other content producers. Like a newspaper or television station, these content producers create and curate stories in multiple formats – text, pictures, videos, infographics and more.
Such content could then be shared on the paid digital platforms of media partners and influencers as sponsored posts, advertorials and other forms of branded content.
Like other forms of effective advertising, companies need to invest in the best creative talent that their money can buy. While virtually anybody can put together a blog post or shoot a video, not everybody have the wherewithal to create content that informs, entertains and converts.
To roll out native ads that work, the talents you engage – be they inhouse or outsourced – should have the following qualities:
Note that most newspaper or magazine websites encourage you to work with their journalists and designers to produce sponsored content on your behalf. While such services don’t come cheap, their work is likely to better fit the platforms in which they are published in.
Once you’ve got your team in place, you need to understand who your target audiences are.
Consider developing your customer personas by asking the following questions:
After identifying who your targeted customers are, you need to pick the right channels to publish/promote your content. Here are some of the most popular ones out there:
Courtesy of Memeburn
Beyond popularity, you need to consider the following:
(For tips on selecting the right influencer, read my post on the ABCs of Influencer Marketing).
Now that you have got your content factory and media channels in place, you need to develop the native ad itself.
To help us along, let us look at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) six marketplace considerations, taken from the organization’s Native Advertising Playbook.
Like any form of advertising, you need to constantly match and mix your content and channels to determine what works best. Beyond the content formats (text, image, video, graphics) and channel (news/magazine website, social channel, blogs), you may want to vary the following:
Once you have gone through an entire cycle, it is worthwhile to examine what worked (and what didn’t). Here, it is important to consider the entire system of influence in a holistic manner – from creatives, messages, platforms, landing pages, to visitor actions.
These insights should feed into your native advertising strategies and tactics, allowing you to refine them in a constantly improving loop.
Oh yes, one last thing.
Native advertising often works hand-in-glove with content marketing and influencer marketing. In most cases, content marketers use native advertising to boost their own efforts in attracting visitors, generating leads and acquiring customers.
Here is a good table showing how native advertising compares to content marketing.
Courtesy of Heidi Cohen
Thus, it makes a lot of sense to ensure that your own digital and social platforms are optimized and running smoothly before embarking on your own native advertising adventures.
Are there other strategies we need to improve the way we advertise natively? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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